Teachers prep for first day of school

Sherry Maples' kindergarten class is ready for new students Thursday.

Jefferson City Public Schools will reopen Thursday, and teachers are preparing for the new school year.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on South Elementary School, which JCPS spokesman David Luther says underwent a "facelift."

The renovations include new floors, ceilings, lights, air conditioning, a new gymnasium and new kitchen.

The sweeping changes left teachers with less time to unpack their classrooms.

"We got in several days later so we actually worked Saturday and Sunday this week," Sherry Maples, a kindergarten teacher at South Elementary, said.

"[It] kind of threw a kink in what my normal routine is, but my family stepped in and helped me out and I was able to get everything put away in just a couple days," 5th grade teacher Gwen Thompson said.

Despite the delay, the teachers say the renovated school was worth the wait.

"It's bright, it's colorful, it's cheery. Just like a school should be," Thompson said.

David Luther said the school district has been trying to upgrade one elementary school for each of the past three years. North Elementary and Belair Elementary came before South.

However, Luther said they most likely will be unable to give the "facelift" to an elementary school this year because the money has to go toward safety and security upgrades.